Two prison officers who passed on the details of sex offenders to other prisoners were jailed today, Thursday.
The pair, who worked in the gym at Bedford prison, looked up details of inmates’ crimes and background on the computer and gave the details to the trusted orderlies they worked alongside.
Judge Richard Foster said it was a ‘grave dereliction of their duties’. He said: “Many inmates are dangerous and have a propensity for violence, and it is well known that sex offenders are especially vulnerable. They could have been seriously assaulted or even worse.
“Why you did it remains a mystery, certainly no money changed hands.”
Daniel Gorick, 36 and James Stride, 30 both pleaded guilty at Luton Crown Court to misconduct in public office and were jailed for 20 months.
Robin Miric, prosecuting, said prison authorities got wind that someone was leaking information about prisoners, and in September last year covert cameras were placed in the gym at Bedford prison.
Between September 8 and September 26 both men were recorded looking up information on the computer system about various prisoners, not all of whom were sex offenders, and passing it on to the orderlies.
“It was a terribly dangerous thing to do,” he said.
When the officers were confronted they immediately resigned.
Gorick, from Flitwick, Bedfordshire said he had just got ‘over friendly’ with the orderlies. He said he had done it at least ten times and appreciated it was stupid.
Stride, from Wellingborough, Northants, said sometimes he would be the only officer on duty in the gym with 20 prisoners and three orderlies to help him. He had trusted them not to do anything with the information he gave them.
The court was told that there was no evidence of any harm coming to the prisoners about whom information had been given, but they were moved to other prisons for safety. There was also no suggestion that they had been paid for handing over information.
Stella Hayden, defending both men said: “Their actions had the potential to put at risk, those they had pledged to protect.
“It was stupidity and they ought to have known better. Mr Gorick has referred to it as a ‘blurring of the boundaries’.
“But they have lost a huge amount and will continue to do so. This whole experience has put tremendous pressure on them and their families.”